Islamist Watch (IW) maintains an extensive archive of news items on nonviolent Islamism in the Western world. The complete collection can be found here; lists organized by topic are accessible on the right side of the IW homepage.
The IW database includes dozens of articles scrutinizing the many narratives, questions, and controversies to arise in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings carried out by two Muslim immigrants, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Several key developments are highlighted below:
Political correctness at the FBI
Following reports that Russian officials had contacted Washington about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's extremism years ago — warnings investigated and then set aside by the FBI — some suspect that political correctness paved the path to the attack. "The FBI can't talk about Islam and they can't talk about jihad," notes counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka, citing policies that de-emphasize radical Islam as a driver of violence. "I have zero doubt it affected their investigation of Tsarnaev," adds specialist Patrick Poole. Congressmen have voiced concerns as well.
The FBI also dropped the ball prior to the Fort Hood bloodbath. In that case, the Washington field office cautioned its San Diego counterpart that probing Nidal Hasan was a "politically sensitive" subject, and internal emails classified Hasan's messages to an al-Qaeda operative as mere "research." Furthermore, building on its record of Muslim outreach follies, the agency recently caved to Islamists on training and expunged "biased" materials. Its "Guiding Principles: Touchstone Document on Training" declares that if someone belongs to a group that engages in both violence and "constitutionally protected activities," the FBI must not assume that the person is involved in the former. As columnist Matthew Vadum opines, "It's not that much of an exaggeration to say that the FBI could not have done anything about Tsarnaev unless he strapped on a suicide vest in front of them, called them 'infidels,' and detailed his abominable plans."
Left: The brutal reality of jihad was displayed on April 15, 2013. Right: The Islamic Society of Boston may appear friendly from the outside, but its history tells a very different tale.
Radicalism at the Islamic Society of Boston
As the authorities trace the Tsarnaev brothers' road to extremism, some point to the Cambridge mosque they attended. Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance has stated that "if the story emerges that they were radicalized in America … the Islamic Society of Boston [ISB] and its leaders provide an interesting place to look." Indeed they do. The ISB's first president was Abdurahman Alamoudi, now imprisoned in connection with an assassination plot. Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi was listed among its trustees, and multiple convicted terrorists, including "Lady al-Qaeda" Aafia Siddiqui, prayed on the premises. Sheikh Ahmed Mansour, a reformist Muslim, recently reflected on a past visit: "Their writings and teachings were fanatical. … I left Egypt to escape the Muslim Brotherhood, but I had found it there."
In positive news, Governor Deval Patrick's office withdrew an invitation to Suhaib Webb, imam of the affiliated ISB Cultural Center (ISBCC) in Roxbury, to speak at an interfaith service on April 18. The center is managed by the Muslim American Society (MAS), which, according to prosecutors, "was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America." Another ISBCC imam once exhorted congregants to "grab on to the gun and the sword" in Siddiqui's defense. "Officials who change course when confronted with the facts need to be commended," the Clarion Project's Ryan Mauro explains. "Thank [the governor] by contacting his office here."
Rays of light in the media darkness
While many media outlets downplayed jihad, others were surprisingly candid: USA Today ran a detailed piece on the ISB's radicalism. The Islamist-friendly Bill O'Reilly blasted Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for denying Islam's role in terrorism. Bill Maher mocked Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, when he asserted that "it's not like people who are Muslim who do wacky things have a monopoly on it." Maher called the idea that all faiths are equal in terms of inspiring violence "liberal bulls—t," perhaps opening the eyes of viewers who reflexively discount criticism of Islam from the right.
Daniel Pipes sees the Boston bombings as "education by murder," noting that Westerners "learn best about Islamism when blood flows in the streets." This process is aided when the bloodshed encourages prominent media figures to overcome inhibitions and speak truthfully about jihad.
Left: Bill Maher asked Brian Levin whether a show about Islam similar to the raucous Book of Mormon could run on Broadway without violence. "Possibly so," he replied, convincing no one. Right: Ibrahim Hooper admits that revenge attacks against Muslims have been rare.
Post-terror backlash fails to materialize yet again
Amid the predictable hype about anti-Muslim backlash — which almost never occurs — the Associated Press relays this refreshingly frank tidbit: "Muslim civil rights leaders say the anti-Islam reaction has been more muted this time than after other attacks since Sept. 11. … Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations … said his organization has seen no uptick in reports of harassment, assaults, or damage to mosques since the April 15 bombings."
No surprise here: Muslims in the U.S. actually suffer hate crimes at a lower rate than blacks, Jews, or gays. Blogger Brendan O'Neill sums it up: "Time and again, left-leaning campaigners and observers respond to terror attacks in the West by panicking about the possibly racist response of Joe Public — and time and again, their fears prove ill-founded and Joe Public proves himself a more decent, tolerant person than they give him credit for. What this reveals is that liberal concern over Islamophobia, liberal fretting about anti-Muslim bigotry, is ironically driven by a bigotry of its own, by an deeply prejudiced view of everyday people as hateful and stupid."
* * *
For additional news and analysis, please visit the IW website.